ATO announces JobKeeper cessation letters to be sent out amid pressure to amend eligibility criteria

JobKeeper participant claimants who do not fulfill the requirement set out can expect to receive notification from the ATO. This is covered by a range of situations in which claimants failed to meet the requirement of notifying the ATO of business activity either through tax return, activity statement, or GST return by 12 March 2020.
The scenarios include: new businesses that commenced from 1 July 2019 registered for GST on an annual cycle; new businesses that commenced 1 January 2020, not registered for GST/registered for GST on a quarterly cycle; and businesses that have not included assessable income in 2018-19 tax return OR that have not provided the ATO with notice of sales or supplies made.
JobKeeper participant claimants who fall under these circumstances will be notified that any JobKeeper payments paid out will cease.
While this is happening, the Treasury has been reviewing the JobKeeper programme. However, the government has been facing pushback by professional organisations to review the ineligibility of new businesses and start-ups for JobKeeper and cash-flow boost payments. A joint submission by nine accounting and bookkeeping associations seek adjustments to rules and legislation to be made for the current requirement (for the ATO to be given evidence of business activity via income tax or GST report by 12 March 2020).
The joint submission said:
“There will also be many other new businesses and start-ups who had an active ABN as at 12 March 2020 but did not enrol for business participant JobKeeper payments based on the rules.”
“Similarly, there are new businesses that were in operation as at 12 March 2020 who had made taxable supplies and were reporting PAYG withholding amounts that did not qualify for cash-flow boost payments due to the notice requirements.”
In addition to that, the joint submission urged the government to consider the financial and emotional toll to be borne by genuine start-up operators and business owners, especially within the tone set by the pandemic.
The joint submission also contains recommendations to the government that look out for those that they feel will be negatively impacted by the technicality.
The submission was co-signed by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CPA Australia, the Institute of Public Accountants, The Tax Institute, Tax & Super Australia, the National Tax and Accountants’ Association, The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, the Australian Bookkeepers Association, and the Association of Accounting Technicians.